Money Mag’s Martin Hesse wrote in the April 2022 issue: “WHEN’S THE RIGHT TIME TO MOVE INTO A RETIREMENT VILLAGE?”
“Moving into a retirement community is a big decision for retirees and their families, and there are many considerations to take into account.
Retirement villages offer the advantages of independent living in your own space, without the time-consuming maintenance of your own home and there is anecdotal evidence that such a lifestyle even boosts your life expectancy, thanks to the amenities they offer.
But how do you know the time is right to make such a move? And once this decision has been made, how do you choose the accommodation best for you? This is a very subjective decision and one that is often taken when people’s health starts to fail. The vast majority of people leave it later than they should. The increase in stress levels of moving home is directly proportional to the age of the mover. Everyone handles stress differently, so this is not a universal law, but moving at 65 is generally far less stressful than moving home at 75. One needs to be proactive and understand that age-related illnesses come upon one suddenly. The retiring baby-boomer generation is more proactive in this regard and there are more people moving into mature lifestyle villages in their late 50s early 60s, which is the ideal time, bearing in mind modern villages cater for an active lifestyle.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR MOVING
- Physical health: In later life, the importance of being able to access medical care quickly and easily while not breaking the bank, will become a priority, so having healthcare facilities and trained professionals close at hand means that you will be able to enjoy your golden years without worrying unduly about these unforeseen eventualities.
- Mental health: Loneliness, boredom and social isolation become a reality as you age, particularly if you’re stuck behind high walls in the suburbs, nursing a spouse, or no longer able to drive. Retirement villages however are home to vibrant communities of elderly people who are keen to make new friendships, to stay active, and even to learn new skills.
- Home and garden maintenance: Cooking, cleaning and gardening all get much more difficult as you age, and keeping up with home maintenance can be both onerous and costly. In modern retirement villages, professional teams take care of home maintenance, gardening, healthcare, housekeeping, laundry, and catering.
- Security: At most professionally run retirement villages, 24-hour security is part of the package. And if you do go away on holiday, you can simply lock up and go, knowing your home is safe and secure.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT VILLAGE
It is advisable for prospective purchasers to visit at least five villages to make comparisons and also to draw up a comprehensive list of questions that should be satisfactorily answered by the salesperson. The list will be long but should always start with security, which is paramount. A wall or electrified fence and gatehouse alone are not sufficient. Security should include 24/7 CCTV monitoring of the fence line in a professionally operated control room with an armed response back-up.
Other questions to ask relate to health-care provision, the monthly levy and what it covers, community life and facilities, and the financial strength of the body corporate. Buyers must obviously also check that prices and payment options suit their budgets.
INDEPENDENCE WITHIN A COMMUNITY
Many senior living communities are aware that retired people don’t want to give up their independence; they simply want a structure that is beneficial to their needs and lifestyle. Retirement neighbourhoods can use technology, expert service providers, and a wealth of options for living, eating, enjoying exercise and entertainment to ensure that residents are independent and happy. On the other hand, living in a retirement community lessens isolation, provides security, companionship and care, and this has especially been the case during Covid restrictions, which have seen older people facing intense isolation. Living in a senior community can help residents create relationships with peers, carers, and service providers, and feel less alone. Many senior living communities allow pets, or in other cases, certain types of pets such as one small dog. Some facilities may offer care for pets if residents cannot care for their pets alone.
Enjoying leisure activities with friends, such as playing bridge or participating in a book club, have been found to protect cognitive skills. Physical activity, such as walking and hiking, gardening or yoga, is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Senior living communities also reduce the incidence of falls, one of the leading causes of injury and death. The likelihood of a fall going unnoticed in a senior community is low, as well-lit and clutter-free living areas prevent falls, and exercise and physical therapy can reduce their instances and severity.
MEDICAL CARE AND AMENITIES
Before choosing a senior living community, you should assess the level and quality of healthcare the community provides. Is there a frail care section? Does it have intermediate assisted-living accommodation? You should also confirm the community’s procedures in the event of an emergency, their disaster preparedness, and which hospitals will be used if admission is necessary. This will help ensure a person receives the right level of care and can avoid revisions to their routines after they move in.”
To read the full article, click here.
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